Quick report on the third rugby match in the course of the last seven days before setting out to Doncaster for the Knights' final game of the season. This took place on Wednesday evening last at the the home of York Rugby Club: the Yorkshire Cup Final, the prize being temporary ownership of the world's oldest sporting trophy. A good crowd were there to see the game.
This was certainly a tale of two contrasting styles. I've often thought that an unscientific comparison of the relative weight of two teams is the width of their huddles. If you take a team of sixteen year olds, for example, you can fit a photograph of their huddle into more or less a square format; the huddle is quite narrow. Put a few heavy forwards into an open age team however, and the huddle becomes much wider. The crop is more 2 x 3 or even 16 x 9. This difference was quite evident in the two finalists.
One of them, Doncaster Phoenix, are a relatively young team overall. Their dramatic success recently has come from speed and the ability to move the ball extremely quickly. Other finalists, Hull, were much stronger (and huddle wider) in the forwards department. Would be a huge simplification to overstate this contrast though.
The match kicked off at 7.30. Understandable if you take into account work commitments and the rush hour journeys from South and East Yorkshire but it did mean half the game took place in darkness. As usual, the floodlights were good for rugby but not great for photography.
Phoenix began well and there was early success for them in the form of a try. As the game progressed though, Hull's strength and power in the forwards began to show and they were ahead by the half time break.
The second half belonged to Hull, Phoenix's frustration reflected in a number of yellow cards and Hull's pack dominance displayed in one pushover direct from a scrum and another push rewarded with a penalty try. Final score was 34-7 but Phoenix should be praised for never giving up, some of their most sparkling stylish rugby being played in the closing minutes.
Well done to Hull - at time of writing they have a big promotion play-off coming up imminently - good luck! You can see more shots of the game here.